When Jessica was born in August 2007, her parents, Colin and Lynne Penny of Glasgow, Scotland, were overjoyed with their first child's arrival. However, Jessica was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy soon afterwards, the condition impacting her ability to walk and talk.
Needing ongoing physical therapy, constant supervision and the aid of a specialised walking frame just to stand up, Jessica endures regular personal training and physiotherapy treatments to minimise the constant pain in her legs.
Nevertheless, Jessica is a happy and outgoing little girl with a smile that can light up a room! But she's becoming more aware that she is not the same as her nursery friends with whom she'd dearly love to play, and does not understand why her parents are on the climbing frame with her instead.
The opportunity to give Jessica the chance to walk independently was recently discovered when Lynne researched a procedure, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) conducted by chief neurosurgeon of St Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri, Dr. T.S.Park.
Having reviewed Jessica's case, Dr. Park has given Colin, Lynne, Jessica and her two year old sister Emily, the positive news they'd been hoping for; if Jessica were to undergo the operation, Dr. Park predicts that Jessica would not only be able to walk independently, she could even participate in sports.
What they need now is help to raise the £60,000 (US$95,000) it will cost to conduct the life-changing surgery in the USA, followed by years of intensive physiotherapy back home in Scotland. With this daunting objective in mind they have set up a fundraising appeal at http://www.justgiving.com/everyPENNY
Colin and Lynne have also started a Facebook page for Jessica at http://www.facebook.com/JessicaEllaPenny
where you can follow Jessica's story and share their journey.
With just eight months to achieve their goal, Colin and Lynne are being supported by family and friends with fundraising activities including sponsored walks, raffles and other initiatives. To date they've raised just over £1,500 towards their £60,000 target and the clock is ticking.
Where every penny donated takes Jessica a step closer to life-changing surgery, now is the time to help give wee Jessica the opportunity to experience an activity most of us take for granted - walking on our own two feet.